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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Mavs Make Luka Doncic The Lone Star in Dallas

  • Luka Doncic is the only star remaining after the Mavericks traded Kristaps Porzingis.
  • They've given Doncic the keys to the franchise since signing him to a five-year, $207 million contract.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports/Design: John Regula

Back when the Mavericks traded for Kristaps Porzingis in 2019, owner Mark Cuban said the goal was to keep him paired with Luka Doncic “for the next 20 years.”

Three years later, that partnership is officially over. Dallas moved Porzingis and his remaining three years and $101.6 million to Washington for underperforming guard Spencer Dinwiddie — a peculiar move for a 5-seed with a top-five defense. 

With Doncic playing like a superstar — he dropped a career-high 51 points on Thursday — it’s difficult to tell whether the Mavericks want to win now or build for the future

  • Since returning from an ankle injury on Jan. 2, Doncic is averaging 28 points, 9.8 assists, and 9.8 rebounds, and the Mavericks are 15-5.
  • The injury-riddled Porzingis is still a threat when he’s on the floor (19.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG).   
  • The Mavs extended Dorian Finney-Smith (10.1 PPG) to a four-year, $55.5 million contract, leaving Jalen Brunson as this summer’s only remaining free agent.

This trade was likely subject to Doncic’s approval — a consistent theme since the team hand-delivered him a five-year, $207 million contract in his native Slovenia this last summer.

Luka’s impact on the team’s decisions dates back to this past summer, when Jason Kidd became head coach and former Nike executive Nico Harrison became GM — Doncic has a deal with the Swoosh. 

No matter who’s calling the shots, it’s unclear why the Mavericks seem to favor a supporting cast over a star partner for Doncic — especially if they want to compete in the West.

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